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BT Announce UK Pilot Locations for 330Mbps FTTP on Demand Service

Wednesday, Jun 27th, 2012 (11:03 am) - Score 2,734

BTOpenreach has today announced a list of 8 telephone exchanges that will be used to conduct the first pilot of their unique FTTP-On-Demand service, which allows BT to deploy “ultra-fast330Mbps capable fibre optic broadband speeds to almost anywhere that their existing FTTC service has covered (66% of the UK by the end of 2014).

At present BT’s deployment of Next Generation Access (NGA) broadband is dominated by slower FTTC technology, which currently delivers variable (distance dependent) download speeds of up to 80Mbps (Megabits per second). Sadly only a tiny number of areas (15 telephone exchanges so far) can access its native / true fibre optic Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) service that runs the fibre all the way to your premises for stable 330Mbps speeds.

The new FTTP-On-Demand solution aims to solve this by giving consumers and businesses, specifically those already covered by an FTTC service, the option to upgrade to FTTP. But the installation of such a “premium” product won’t come cheap (possibly over £1000+) and that will make it less viable for domestic consumers.

BTOpenreachs Mike Witts told ISPreview.co.uk:

Essentially if you were to order FTTP on demand you’d be ordering the construction of a separate, parallel, all-fibre infrastructure (the same as our current FTTP infrastructure) which doesn’t involve the existing copper line (hence the extra costs involved).”

Mike Galvin, BTOpenreachs MD of Network Investment, said:

FTTP on Demand has great potential and so we are proceeding with these pilots. Whilst we believe FTTC will be our mass market consumer product for some time yet, FTTP may be of interest to small and medium sized businesses and so we want to make it accessible throughout our fibre footprint. This development can potentially help SMEs to compete both at home and abroad as well as maintain and create jobs across the UK.”

BTOpenreach also intends to run the service in two pilot phases, which have been detailed below.

Pilot Phase One

This is intended to test the planning and construction process and will run from July 2012 to early 2013, allowing participating CPs to place orders for a 330Mbps downstream, and either 20 or 30Mbps upstream service in parts of High Wycombe, Bristol South as well as in St Agnes, Cornwall; where the service was first trialled. Edinburgh’s Waverley exchange will be added to the pilot in September 2012.

Pilot Phase Two

This is to run from March to May 2013, will test new automated order processes, and focus on the 330Mbps downstream, 30Mbps upstream product. In addition to the first four areas, this phase will see the pilot extended to parts of Watford, Cardiff, Basingstoke, and Manchester Central.

The final commercial launch of FTTP-On-Demand is then anticipated to happen during Spring 2013. According to Openreach, ISPs “will be able to order the service where there is interest and then assist Openreach with the cost of deployment“. We suspect that most ISPs will not be too keen to absorb a large chunk of this cost as doing so would not be economical.

At this stage there’s no official line on pricing and the pilot will be used to help inform that consideration, although it’s safe to say that related installations could end up being quite expensive. Any installation fee is also “highly likely to be distance dependent given the nature of the necessary work“. So if you live very far from your local street cabinet then you’d better have deep pockets.

Mark-Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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